So many of us begin our mornings with a cup of coffee... or three. Our bodies have grown so accustomed to Caffeine that we drink caffeinated drinks to wake up, re-energize in the afternoon, and maybe just because we simply like the taste of whatever it is we’re drinking.
Caffeine is a popular stimulant, and each person has an individual sensitivity to it. If you ever took a break from it, you might recall the pretty intense side effects you felt as you withdrew from the drug (yes, it is a drug). Of course, with moderate consumption, Caffeine can have positive effects, too, including improved performance during physical activity and a sharper focus.
However, whether your preference is tea, coffee, energy drinks, or soda, when Caffeine is an ingredient, there are risks.
Read on to learn more about the dangerous side effects of Caffeine.
Effects of Caffeine on The Body
No two individuals react the same way to Caffeine, which is why you may be able to drink two strong cups of coffee in an hour without feeling a buzz, while your spouse could take a few sips and experience dizziness and a fast heartbeat. So what are the physiological effects that help you stay alert?
Caffeine affects the cardiovascular system through blood pressure and heart rate. It’s important to note, too, that Caffeine can have a ‘half-life’ of up to four to six hours. This means that the stimulant still remains in your body for hours after consuming it.
Rapidly consuming multiple energy drinks may not allow your body to clear them as quickly as a single caffeinated beverage, so it’s important to take in Caffeine slowly throughout the day, rather than chugging a hefty dose in one sitting. For healthy adults, the FDA has cited 400mg of Caffeine a day (about four cups of coffee) as the safe maximum amount.
Some of the dangerous side effects of Caffeine include:
Caffeine is commonly known to increase alertness. It does this by blocking the effects of adenosine, which is a brain chemical that makes you feel tired. At the same time, it also triggers the release of adrenaline, the “fight-or-flight” hormone associated with increased energy. However, at high doses, these effects may become more pronounced, leading to nervousness and anxiety.
In fact, Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder is one of four Caffeine-related syndromes listed in the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.
If you notice that you tend to feel nervous or jittery often, it might be a good idea to examine your Caffeine intake and cut it back.
High Blood Pressure
In addition to being an effective stimulant, Caffeine is classified as a vasoconstrictor. This means that while it initiates the release of adrenaline and increases your heart rate, it also narrows and tightens your blood vessels.
This combination of reactions can briefly spike your blood pressure. For people that already struggle with hypertension, Caffeine should be taken with caution. Elevated blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke and heart attack because it may cause damage to your arteries over time, restricting the flow of blood to your brain and heart.
Caffeine’s ability to help individuals stay awake is one of its most prized and beloved qualities. On the other hand, too much of the stuff can make it difficult to get enough restorative sleep.
Studies have found that a higher Caffeine intake appears to increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It may also decrease your total sleeping time, especially in the elderly.
However, it’s important to note that the amount of Caffeine you can consume without affecting your beauty-rest will greatly depend on your genetics and other factors. In addition, when this stimulant is consumed later in the day, it is more likely to interfere with your sleep because its effects can take several hours to wear off.
Rapid Heart Rate
The stimulatory effects of high Caffeine intake may cause your heart to beat much faster. It may also lead to an altered heartbeat rhythm, called atrial fibrillation (AFib), which has been reported in young individuals who consumed energy drinks containing extremely high doses of Caffeine.
However, this effect doesn’t occur in everyone, as it seems even some people with heart issues may be able to tolerate large doses of caffeine without any adverse effects. In one controlled study, when 51 patients with heart failure consumed 100 milligrams of caffeine per hour for 5 hours, their heart rates and rhythms remained normal.
Regardless of the mixed results, if you notice any changes in your heart rhythm or rate after drinking a caffeinated beverage, consider decreasing your intake or talking to your doctor.
Caffeine is not inherently dangerous, but like with many things, people should be careful about how much they are taking. Too much of this popular stimulant can cause some serious side effects, such as anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, and rapid heart rate.
If you’re relying on Caffeine for a little pick-me-up, always be sure to check the product’s Caffeine content to know exactly how much you are consuming in order to avoid unwanted side effects. Additionally, you should also check the Caffeine source.
Synthetic Caffeine, which happens to make up most energy drinks on the market, is absorbed by the body much faster than natural Caffeine. Sure, you may experience the energizing effects of the stimulant faster, but synthetic Caffeine will also lead you to a much quicker crash.
Rather than drinking another questionable energy drink or a sugar-bomb latte, give Proper Wild’s 100% clean, plant-based energy shots a try. You’ll love the combo of organic Caffeine from green tea paired with the powerful amino acid L-Theanine for long-lasting, clean energy, with reduced jitters and no crash. With twice the Caffeine of a cup of coffee and zero grams of added sugar, Proper Wild's energy shots are ideal for anyone in need of a healthier jolt of energy!